Fukushima Kōtsū Iizaka Line

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     Iizaka Line
Fukushima Kotsu 7000.jpg
Fukushima Transportation 7000 series EMU
Overview
Type Commuter rail
Locale Tōhoku
Termini Fukushima
Iizaka Onsen
Stations 12
Operation
Opening April 13, 1924
Operator(s) Fukushima Transportation
Depot(s) Sakuramizu
Technical
Line length 9.2 km (5.7 mi)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification 1,500 V DC, overhead lines

The Iizaka Line (飯坂線?) is a railway line connecting Fukushima Station with the onsen town of Iizaka at Iizaka Onsen Station, all within Fukushima, Fukushima, Japan. It is commonly called Iizaka Electric Railway (飯坂電車 Iizaka Densha?) or Iiden (飯電?) locally. This is the only railway line operated by Fukushima Transportation, as the company's main business is bus transport.[1]

Stations[edit]

Name Japanese Distance between stations (km) Distance from Fukushima (km) Connections Location
Fukushima 福島 - 0.0 Tōhoku Shinkansen, Yamagata Shinkansen, Tōhoku Main Line, Ōu Main Line, Abukuma Express Line (AbukumaExpress) Fukushima, Fukushima
Soneda 曽根田 0.6 0.6  
Bijutsukantoshokanmae 美術館図書館前 0.8 1.4  
Iwashiroshimizu 岩代清水 1.3 2.7  
Izumi 0.3 3.0  
Kamimatsukawa 上松川 0.7 3.7  
Sasaya 笹谷 0.5 4.2  
Sakuramizu 桜水 0.9 5.1  
Hirano 平野 1.1 6.2  
Iohji-mae 医王寺前 1.2 7.4  
Hanamizuzaka 花水坂 1.3 8.7  
Iizaka Onsen 飯坂温泉 0.5 9.2  

Service[edit]

Iizaka Line's yard at Sakuramizu

While the termini of the Iizaka Line are Fukushima and Iizaka Onsen stations, all trains night at the line's rail yard located at Sakuramizu Station. This also means that all trains' initial morning departure is from Sakuramizu.

Service frequency[edit]

Weekdays[edit]

As a general rule, trains come every 20-25 minutes in the early morning, every 15 minutes in the morning, every 25 minutes in the daytime, every 15 minutes in the evening, and every 25-30 minutes at night.

Weekends and holidays[edit]

As a general rule, trains come every 20-40 minutes in the early morning, every 20 minutes in the morning, every 25 minutes in the daytime, and every 30 minutes at night.

History[edit]

1920s–1940s[edit]

The Iizaka Line's history can be traced back to 1921 and the founding of Iizaka Tramway (飯坂軌道 Iizaka Kidō?) which changed its name to Fukushima Iizaka Electric Tramway (福島飯坂電気軌道 Fukushima Iizaka Denki Kidō?) before the end of the year. Three years later, in 1924, the 8.9 km section of tramway track between Fukushima and Iizaka Station (present-day Hanamizuzaka) opened for business. Later on in the year the company was renamed to Iizaka Electric Railway (飯坂電車 Iizaka Densha?).

The track was soon extended, and in 1927 the present-day Iizaka Onsen Station became the new terminus with Iizaka Station's name being changed to Hanamizuzaka. 1927 also saw merger of Iizaka Electric Railway with Fukushima Electric Railway (福島電気鉄道 Fukushima Denki Testudō?). As a result of the merger, the Iizaka Line was renamed the Iizaka West Line with Fukushima Electric Railway's existing line being renamed the Iizaka East Line.

1950s–1980s[edit]

Izumi opened in 1940, and in the following years the section between Fukushima and Moriai (present-day Bijutsukantoshokanmae) was converted to dedicated tramway track. Due to the rebuilding and moving of the track, Moriai was closed then reopened in a new location and Soneda was closed and rebuilt as Dentetsu Fukushima (present-day Soneda). In 1944 Shimizu Yakuba-mae was renamed to Iwashiroshimizu. The following year, under the Regional Railway Act (地方鉄道法?), the Iizaka West Line transitioned from being a tramway into being a railway.

Fukushima Electric Railway changed its name to Fukushima Transportation (福島交通 Fukushima Kōtsū?) in 1962, and the same year Dentetsu Fukushima Station's name was changed to Soneda. Carrying capacity on the line was increased with the purchase of brand new 5000 series cars in 1963. Kamimatsukawa Station opened the following year.

Coming into the 1970s, capacity was increased further with the purchase of new 5300 series cars in 1971. The Iizaka East Line closed the same year, leaving the Iizaka Line as the only train line run by Fukushima Transportation. Sakuramizu Station opened in 1975, and three 3300 series cars were purchased from Tokyu in 1976.

In 1980 two more 5000 series cars were acquired from Tokyu, and two years later Iizaka Onsen Station was moved to coincide with the shortening of the line by 100 meters.

1990s–present[edit]

1991 saw multiple changes happen to the Iizaka Line, starting out with the renaming of Moriai to Bijutsukantoshokanmae. However, even more visible was the change from 750 V overhead catenary to 1,500 V and the change to Tokyu 7000 series cars that coincided with the switch.

2001 braking accident[edit]

At approximately 9:35 pm on April 8, 2001 a train that had departed from Iizaka Onsen in the direction of Fukushima had a brief power outage at Bijutsukantoshokanmae, two stations before Fukushima. When the train resumed operation it was realized that the braking system wasn't operating. The train continued past Soneda, the next station, and crashed through the buffer stop at Fukushima, the end of the line. The train continued for 12 meters further, coming to rest in Fukushima Station's East Building. Four people were injured, none seriously.

It was later discovered that due to improper maintenance, the power outage at Bijutsukantoshokanmae had caused the main brakes to become nonfunctional. The driver had also failed to activate the emergency brakes.[2]

Following the accident, an ATS safety system was installed.

2011 earthquake[edit]

All service on the Iizaka Line was shut down in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, however normal service was restored two days later on March 13.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 会社概要 (in Japanese). Fukushima Transportation. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  2. ^ 鉄道事故の事例 (PDF) (in Japanese). The city of Sapporo. Retrieved 2011-06-25. 
  3. ^ 福島の飯坂電車、運転再開へ (in Japanese). MSN 産経ニュース. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Fukushima Kotsu Iizaka Line at Wikimedia Commons